New design of RF coils give total freedom in coil positioning

The AIR technology from GE uses an industry-first suite of RF coils which enable total freedom in coil positioning and handling during a MRI scan. The choice of coils includes a 30 channel anterior array (AA) coil;  a 21 channel multi-purpose (MP) large coil and a 20 channel (MP) medium coil. These coils are available for GE’s 1.5T and 3T systems. The AA coils are designed to conform to the human body. Each coil is lightweight, flexible and just like a blanket, designed to closely wrap around patients for incredible image quality.

Used for examinations that were previously difficult, such as casted joints, broken joints, long bones, or other anatomies that do not fit in standard coils, the MP coils  are designed for flexibility in positioning

The AIR coils are 60 percent lighter than conventional coils, benefiting both patients and technologists. The coils offer greater flexibility in all axes to help conform to patients’ anatomies and fit all patient ages, sizes, and shapes. The ultra-lightweight design makes it easier to scan the patient and addresses several clinical needs, including large field-of-view coverage in abdominal imaging without repositioning the patient, and high-density coil when using compressed sensing and parallel imaging techniques.

Designed to provide automated slice prescriptions to help reduce previously redundant, manual steps, the AIRx tool from GE increases consistency and productivity The tool is built on Edison, GE’s intelligence platform comprising of applications and smart devices which enable the integration and assimilation of data from disparate sources, the application of advanced analytics and AI to transform the data to support clinical, financial and operational decision-making.

AIRx is intended to produce images presented to radiologists that have lower inter-technologist and inter-technologists variability, to help lower the chances of a patient recall due to incorrect slice placement. Increased consistency is particularly important in longitudinal assessments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis.

AIRx features a pre-trained neural network model that leverages deep learning algorithms and anatomy recognition to define the correct anatomical landmarks and automate the scanning process not just for routine but also challenging set-ups. The algorithm automatically aligns the scan prescription to anatomical references that are based on a database of over 36,000 images sourced from clinical studies and reference sites.

Working with AIR Technology coils, the AIR Touch systemis an intelligent patient recognition software which helps optimize every scan. AIR Touch connects the coil to the system to automatically tell the scanner exactly where the patient is with just one touch thus dramatically simplifying the scan set up for the technologist, saving time during each scan. This new feature also optimizes key elements in the coil configuration automatically to get an excellent image for every patient while using the full power of each coil.

Using AIR Coils is very simple,” said Brendan Bakker, radiographer at Erasmus MC Rotterdam. “The coil is not only light and comfortable for the patients but also for us radiographers. The workflow is much improved with AIR Touch. We now only define the [region of interest] with AIR Touch and the system manages all the needs for the acquisition. It’s very simple to make the coil selection or calibrations, and we forget that we used to have to manage the coil—it makes us so happy!

GE Healthcare’s ultra-premium MR system,  SIGNA Premier now features an expanded suite of AIR Coils and new software. These include  MUSE, diffusion weighted imaging for brain and abdomen; AIR Touch; Hyperband fMRI, a new technique that simultaneously excites and acquires multiple slices to reduce scan time for diffusion weighted imaging, diffusion tensor imaging in the brain, and fMRI with minimal loss in SNR; and Progres, a distortion correction application. The SIGNA Premier features a 70-centimeter bore, a 3.0T shortbore superconductive magnet, and the SuperG gradient coil—the most powerful gradient system GE has produced for a wide-bore, 3.0T system. SuperG is designed to provide the performance of a research class 60-centimeter MR system in a 70-centimeter bore.

On the Premier system, we obtained good [image quality] for [cardiovascular MR] exams, particularly in difficult cases such as a large patient,” said Dr. Alexander Hirsch, cardiologist at Erasmus MC Rotterdam. “The AIR Coil is definitely much better than the previous coils we had. Additionally, the gradient performance of this 3T wide bore system provides shorter TE and TR resulting in less banding artifacts on 2D cine”.

GE Healthcare

Chalfont St Giles, UK